Less than a year old and located within yards of 3 modes of transportation, Merchants Terminal Corporation’s new sustainable refrigerated international distribution center is already successful.
When Harry Halpert, President of Merchants Terminal Corporation (MTC) decided to move his headquarters from a 60+ year old facility, he knew location was going to be paramount in the new paradigm of global logistics. This would require quicker turn times of scarce refrigerated equipment, coupled with the ability to max-load containers to the safe working load of the container and chassis; thus allowing for economies of scale for his customers. Therefore, locating very near the Port of Baltimore and being readily accessible to the main north-south East Coast artery of I-95 were equally important components.
When General Motors decided to close its Baltimore assembly plant located immediately adjacent to the Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal, with easy access to I-95, I-695 and I-895, and being located next to CSX and NS trackage; it became readily apparent that this was indeed the required nexus. Halpert went to work securing 14 acres of developable brown field land on the former GM site for his new facility. With the nexus secured, Halpert hired Brooks Royster, former Executive Director of the Maryland Port Administration as Project Manager for the construction effort, making Royster Vice President of the Company. While Royster was at the Port, he recognized the need for a near-dock refrigerated facility to enhance refrigerated international logistics. Halpert and Royster met early on in Royster’s tenure at the Port and pledged to remedy this shortcoming.
The result of Phase 1 is a $25 million, 4.7 million cubic foot facility located less than ¼ mile from Seagirt Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore, less than 1/8 mile from I-95 and I-895, and immediately adjacent to 2 Class 1 railroads. MTC’s new distribution center is both accessible, and with the technology employed in construction and operation, sustainable. And, judging from the resulting industry response, it is highly competitive handling frozen imports from China and South America and exports to Asia and Europe. Additionally, MTC’s transportation division MLogistics™ is an approved Wal-Mart consolidation program, offering their customers seamless logistics to the nation’s largest food retailer.
Halpert is now considering construction of Phase 2. Two recent occurrences have him thinking bigger is better. The first occurrence being the expansion of the Panama Canal in order to accommodate larger, post-Panamax vessels. And, secondly, the recent Ports America Chesapeake’s signing of a 50 year lease with the State of Maryland to build out and operate Seagirt Marine Terminal to accommodate vessels requiring 50 feet of water and super post-Panamax cranes. This added Port capacity and Baltimore’s positioning as Mid-America’s Port has MTC positioned smartly to accommodate the anticipated increase in refrigerated business to be brought by this Port growth.
Sustainability is the watch word in the food industry now, and MTC is fully onboard. The new facility which was designed and constructed by ARCO Design/Build of Atlanta has extra R-value insulation in the walls and roof (which is also white to reflect solar energy) to reduce energy loss. The roof was also designed and constructed to allow for solar panel installation which is presently being evaluated. MTC also has a state-of-the-art energy management system provided by IceTec Energy Services that allows it to cost effectively manage its energy consumption. Additionally, ARCO D/B designed the truck dock to maintain the cold chain when opening containers and trailers, but also to maintain the security chain ensuring tamper proof and pilfer proof cargo handling. USDA maintains an inspection facility on premises for prompt inspection of export cargoes as does USDC for import cargoes.
MTC owns and operates 3 refri